How To Build A Success Sales Environment
What are today’s revenue results, how much is in the pipeline, when will we get paid by the client, what is the run rate, will we meet our budget - this is the lexicon of sales. The sales results are the end product of a series of processes. There is usually ample attention placed on sales processes but sometimes we need to step back from the detail, the mechanics, the techniques and contemplate the overall environment we have created for sales to flourish.
Your Japanese sales manager yelling at the sales team and berating them for under performance is usually not very productive, because the motivation drops and a vicious downward spiral kicks in. The client’s best interests are out the window immediately and in short order, the brand "flesh wounds" start to accumulate. We need to redirect the team’s performance by moving things forward, rather than constantly combing through the bitter ashes of past defeats.
Here are five environment builders to boost the success of the sales team.
Best Our Rivals
Sales can become very internally focused. The constant review of sales numbers and focus on existing clients draws us into a web of self-absorption. Shifting the world into "us" and "them" can be great for focus and encouragement. Unfortunately, a lot of the "us" and "them" is often internally focused. This is usually centered on the failings of Marketing or IT or Production or just about anybody outside of sales who can be blamed. Better to focus this caustic energy on the competition. Intense rivalry is a motivator and beating the other sales team is a worthy goal that appeals to the competitive nature of sales people, so focus them outward.
High Income Factory
Having no limits on sales people’s earnings motivates. Pretty obvious! Sadly the ego of the President or the Sales Director can get swept up in this commission-based melee, especially when they realize that individual sales people are earning more than they are. Emasculating or ending a successful sales structure, because of ego or greed, is stupid but still happens anyway.
Rather than reducing commissions, keep the no-ceiling attraction there to drive results and it becomes a win-win for everyone. Japan rarely operates on 100% commission, so there is usually a base/commission trade off. Keeping the unlimited income prospect in everyone’s sights is good business, because the corresponding base pay rates can be kept lower. If performance takes time to produce or is not being generated, then the actual fixed costs remain low. The more sales people succeed, the more attractive you are to the quality talent you want to attract and retain.
Focus On Personal Development
The basics of sales can’t be neglected or truncated. Every high performance athlete or sports team goes back to the basics at the start of every season. Sales people are no different – back to basics on a regular basis eliminates or confines bad habits.
Your own presentation can become boring. The client usually only ever hears it once, but the sales person could be giving the same basic presentation 20-30 times a week. Short cuts emerge, best practices are trimmed, inconsistencies pop up, complacency arises when sales people, even the good ones, find themselves immersed in routine. Stimulation to vary the presentation or to inject some fresh ideas into the sales conversation is needed. Training, attending sales rallies, industry related conferences and events, support for reading and on-line courses, are all magic stimuli for sales people.
In the famous movie Glengarry Glen Ross, the sales "leads" are so valuable they are placed in the company safe. Ace sales guy, Ricky Roma, played by Al Pacino, is the only one who is not dependent on the company provided leads. Moral of the story - don’t let sales people become dependent on leads generated by the marketing department or from the web.
The best sale culture is one of accountability for production , independence and a will to achieve. Organized tenacity, creativity, freedom, success orientation - should be the dominant attributes. Make it clear at the hiring point that "this is how we roll here", because sales is a brutally honest results culture.
High Praise & Recognition Culture
It may be thought that self-directed sales people don’t need praise or approbation. They want it anyway. Don’t ever underestimate the competitive nature of sales people and their appetite for having their egos stroked!
Successful sales leadership builds people and manages processes. Paying attention to the macro-environment, as well as the gritty detail, will help build a sustainable, high performance culture in your sales organization.